Friday, January 27, 2006

The Hamas Defeat

Husseini and pal

Say, did you read about the enormous, "shocking," overwhelming Hamas defeat at the polls yesterday in the Palestinian elections? I don't know about the geopolitical aspects of Hamas getting all those seats, but one thing is sure -- this is the biggest public relations defeat for the Pal cause since Hamas's spiritual father, Haj Amin al-Husseini, sat down to have tea with Hitler.

That's because one of the bedrock tenets of media bias -- the myth of Palestinian "moderation" -- has been dealt a severe blow. Also the Hamas win has stripped away, at least for the time being, the doubletalk that has insulated the Palestinian leadership from terrorism, no matter how close those ties have been. Oh, the Pals will work hard to come back and counteract this major public relations setback, but for the time being let's savor it.

You can see what I'm talking about by just looking at the New York Times this morning. The extensive package of news stories on the subject, for the first time that I can recall, were pretty well free of the deep-rooted bias that one finds whenever the Palestinians or Hamas are concerned. The lead editorial today predictably laid the blame on Israeli "hard-liners," but did so half-heartedly. (OK, I know, I know, the editorial couldn't resist sanitizing these murderers with the lie that "Hamas grew out of a terrorist organization" -- but let's not quibble.)

One Times story even made what was, for the Times, the extraordinary assertion:

talking to Hamas may help coax it toward eventual partnership in a peace negotiation. The problem, many diplomats and experts say, is that no one even
pretends that there are truly separate wings of Hamas. Its armed forces and its political leaders are married to each other inextricably.
Actually there are people who pretend that there are separate wings of that murder mob -- Times editors, writers and editorial writers. Just a month ago, in an email to a reader, Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner made that distinction for not calling Hamas a "terrorist" group.

Hamas has hired a PR firm and the terrorist apologists will no doubt fight back and re-assert the status quo. You got a general sense of the line the Palestinian propagandists will be using in an op-ed piece that the Times rushed into print today. The piece whimpered that "Hamas's participation in Palestinian politics is not necessarily a bad thing, and resisting it will very likely do more harm than good." In other words, let's let bygones be bygones and legimitize and negotiate with terrorists.

I loved this line: "As a political party, Hamas revealed itself to be disciplined, pragmatic and surprisingly flexible" -- sort of like the party of you-know-who just before 1933. Oh, and "It fielded well-regarded candidates, including doctors and academics." Yeah, "doctors." Goebbels, Mengele......

UPDATE: Soccer Dad has good take on the Times editorial that I mentioned above. Hey, no question -- it's a Times editorial, so it will follow the Template and bash Israel wherever possible. However, I think that all the Times coverage today, read as a whole, shows a definite shift in the direction of reality. A permanent shift? Probably not.

IRIS has two good analyses -- on why the Hamas victory is good for Israel, and how the IDF misread the situation.


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